Ferguson quickly stashed his broom in the cupboard. Sweeping up the bedchambers was his last and least favourite chore of the day, and he was excited to have a few hours to himself before his curfew. He rushed out the back door of the Abbey, shielding his eyes from the low evening sun.
He knew exactly how he would spend his free time. He jogged down the street until he reached the Andorhal Library – his home away from home.
As he rushed towards the desk he called out to the librarian. “Evening, Louisa!”
“Ah, Ferguson… what a surprise!” She grinned and leaned to look out the window. “Sun’s barely even touching the ground and you’re done your chores already?”
“You spend 12 years doing the same chores each day, you get pretty good at it. Father Argus heard rumour that there were some new books coming in today… I wanted to see if there was anything interesting!”
“Anything… about Herbalism, you mean? Indeed, indeed! I believe we received something about the healing properties of Peacebloom… let me have a look here.”
She started flipping through the large registry on the desk. Ferguson could barely contain himself. It was well known that he had an affinity for all kinds of agriculture, it was expected that someday he’d become the head gardener at the Abbey once he attained full priesthood.
“Got some bad news for you, dear. Book’s already been lent out!” Ferguson was both disappointed and confused. Who else in all of Andorhal would care about Peacebloom? “Says here it was checked out just an hour ago by… Anabelle.”
His little sister. He should have known! He must have let it slip that he was heading to the library, and she knew this would be the perfect way to torment him. He grunted quietly, trying to remain calm in appearance. “Thanks, Louisa… I’ll just have to wait for another day.”
Once he was out of sight of the librarian, his calm walk turned into a passionate run. How dare she! I’m going to get here this time… Very un-priestly thoughts rushed through his mind as he ran to Anabelle’s favourite hiding spot. As he approached the thick tree that overlooked the river, he could see there was indeed a dark-haired girl sitting against the opposite side.
“Alright you little snot, give me the book!” Ferguson jumped out from behind the tree to snatch the book from his 12-year old hooligan of a sister.
But it was not his sister.
It was a girl about Ferguson’s age, reading through the book his sister must have hidden here. She had stunning black hair, tied with a green bow, and her crystal blue eyes were wide with surprise and guilt.
“Oh, I’m so sorry! I didn’t mean to… I mean… I just found it sitting here!” She flushed and dropped the book, then turned to run in embarrassment.
“No! Wait!” Ferguson called out. The girl froze in her tracks.
Ferguson picked up the book and walked up to her. After an awkward silence, his hand shot forward towards her.
“I’m Ferguson. I stay down at the Abbey. Who are you?”
She took his hand and shook it cautiously and smiled. “I’m Marisa. We just moved to Andorhal last week… nice to meet you.”
Ferguson grinned. He’d never met a girl with such a beautiful smile!
“So, uh, you like plants?” He passed her the book, and the two began walking back to town together.
“Oh, very much! Actually, I hope to run my own flower shop someday!”
It seemed Ferguson had finally found something that interested him even more than gardening.